MADISON, S.D. - Dakota State University volleyball coach Amy Veenhof is proud to announce her 2013 recruiting class with 15 signees. "I am thrilled to introduce our incoming recruiting class because they are talented athletes, good teammates, excellent students, and will each impact our DSU community in unique ways," said Veenhof.
Brittney Anderson, 5-foot-10-inch middle/outside hitter from Rapid City Central High School, is a two-time letter winner and earned Greater Dakota All-Conference Honorable Mention honors in both 2011 and 2012. During her senior year, she produced a .294 hitting efficiency with 161 kills (3.8 kills per set), 154 service aces, and recorded 134 blocks. Anderson was named to the Greater Dakota Conference All-Academic Team. She also lettered in track and field. She was a member of the National Honor Society. Brittney is the daughter of Bill and Loni Anderson of Rapid City, S.D. She plans to study Exercise Science at Dakota State University.
Emily Blackwelder of Canby High School joined the Trojan Volleyball program this past spring. Blackwelder, 5-foot-11-inch middle hitter, was an All-Conference performer her senior year. She was a member of the Canby volleyball team that was Conference Champions her junior season. Blackwelder tallied a total of 124 kills with a hitting percentage of .276, 29 service aces, and 70 blocks. Her academic accomplishments include receiving a DSU Champion Scholarship, being a member of Delta Mu Delta and Phi Eta Sigma, and making it on the President's Honor List. Emily is the daughter of David and Denise Blackwelder of Canby, Minn. She is majoring in Management and Accounting at Dakota State.
Chelsey Davis, 5-foot-3-inch libero from Sioux Falls Lincoln High School, was an integral member of the State 'AA' Volleyball Championship team in 2011 and 2012. She was a team captain in her senior year. She accumulated 332 digs and 22 service aces. Davis earned the Most Improved Award and was named to the Sioux Falls Sports Club All-City Girls Volleyball Team. Her academic success includes being named a Scholar Athlete and a Regents Scholar. Chelsey is the daughter of Bill and Tami Davis of Sioux Falls, S.D. Her intended major is Pre-Pharmacy.
Heather Dearing, 5-foot-9-inch outside hitter from Deuel High School, accumulated a total of 111 kills and 48 service aces during her junior and senior seasons. She also lettered in basketball and track. She was a two-time state track qualifier in the high jump. Dearing was on the Honor Roll and received the President's Education Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She is also a representative for Fellow Christian Athletes (FCA). Heather is the daughter of Gary and Dina Dearing of Clear Lake, S.D. She plans to major in Elementary and Special Education at Dakota State University.
Stacey Hansen, another product from Deuel High School, is a 5-foot-9-inch setter. Hansen joined the DSU volleyball program in the spring. She amassed a total of 366 assists and 46 service aces in her senior year when she helped her team get to the region final. She accumulated 565 assists and 77 aces in her high school career. Hansen was a team captain and named to the volleyball All-Conference Team her senior year. She also lettered in golf and basketball. Hansen was a four-time state golf qualifier (three-time golf individual medal). She was a National Honor Society member, four-year Honor Roll student, and Academic All-State for volleyball, basketball, and golf. Stacey is the daughter of Paul and Annette Hansen of Clear Lake, S.D. Her major at Dakota State is Elementary Education and coaching.
Haley Hillestad, 6-foot middle hitter, was an integral member of the Sioux Valley Cossacks team that finished third at the 2012 State 'A' Volleyball Tournament. She did earn a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Hillestad was also a member of the Cossacks team that placed seventh in the 2009 State 'A' Volleyball tournament. During her senior season, Hillestad produced 383 kills, 208 digs, 102 blocks, and 67 service aces. She accumulated 894 kills, 381 digs, 277 blocks, and 157 aces during her career as a Cossack. She was named All-Register Player of the Year and All-State First Team. Hillestad was a three-time Lake Central All-Conference and Big East Conference selection. Hillestad was featured in the South Dakota high school volleyball preview magazine two years. She was selected as the team's Most Valuable Player two times. Hillestad also lettered and was a two-time All-Conference performer in basketball and she was the 2012 Region Champion and State qualifier in shot put. Hillestad's academic success includes making the Honor Roll and being named a Regent Scholar. Haley is the daughter of Rick and Kendra Hillestad of Volga, S.D. She plans to study General Studies at Dakota State University.
Shannon Klaassen, a 5-foot-9-inch outside hitter from Little Rock, Iowa, amassed a total of 411 kills in her career at George-Little Rock High School. During her senior season she had 280 kills, which ranked 3rd in the conference. Klaassen was selected Second Team All-Siouxland Conference, Third Team All-Review, and 1A All-District. She was chosen as the team's Most Valuable Player and Kill Queen. Klaassen was listed on the Honor Roll for four years, named Student of the Month, and was a member of the National Honor Society. She earned Citizenship and Scholar Honors during her four-year career at George-Little Rock High School. Shannon is the daughter of Rick and Staci Klaassen. Her intended major at Dakota State University is Exercise Science.
Kylie Martin, 5-foot-10-inch middle/outside hitter from Dakota Valley High School, holds the school record for most career kills with 862. She was an integral member of the Panthers that finished runner-up in the 2012 State Class 'A' Volleyball Tournament. During her senior season, Martin recorded 234 kills with a hitting percentage of .321 and was 90 percent serving and serve received at 97 percent. She was a team captain for three years and was the three-time Offensive Player of the Year. She was a two-time All-Conference and All-Region selection. Martin was named First Team All-State. She also lettered in track where she holds the school record in shot put with 39'1/4â€. Martin was a two-time State track & field qualifier in shot put, placing third in her junior year. She was named Dakota Valley's Female Athlete of the Year 2013. Martin's academic accomplishments include being a member of the National Honor Society, earning the President's Award of Excellence, being a Regent Scholar, and receiving the Scholar Athlete Award. Kylie is the daughter of Doug and Janet Martin of Dakota Dunes, S.D. She will participate in both volleyball and track and field for the Trojans and she plans to study Exercise Science at Dakota State University.
Jessica McKenney, 5-foot-7-inch left/right side hitter and setter, comes from Parker High School where the Pheasants claimed third place finishes at the State Class 'B' Tournament the last two seasons. McKenney recorded 147 kills, 99 assists, 33 service aces, 187 digs, and 26 blocks during her senior season. She tallied a total of 321 kills, 204 assists, 109 aces, 670 digs and 70 blocks during her high school career at Parker. She was named All-Conference Honorable Mention and Academic All-State. She received the team's Most Improved Award in 2010. She also lettered in cross country, track and field, and basketball. McKenney was named Most Improved and Most Valuable in cross country. She was a member of the National Honor Society and was on the Honor Roll. Jessica is the daughter of Todd and Regina McKenney of Parker, S.D. She plans to major in English Education at Dakota State University.
Mackenzie Schultz, 5-foot-5-inch setter from Bridgewater-Emery High School, received the Best Team Player Award her sophomore and junior seasons and Most Valuable Player Award her senior year. She was Cornbelt All-Conference First Team as a senior and junior and Cornbelt All-Conference Second Team as a sophomore. Schultz was also All-State Honorable Mention. Schultz accumulated 597 assists, 202 digs, 55 aces, and 54 kills in her senior year at Bridgewater-Emery. She recorded 1,678 assists, 719 digs, 215 aces, 116 kills, and 34 blocks in her high school volleyball career. Schultz also lettered in basketball and golf. In basketball she received the team's Best Defensive Player Award and the 110% Award her senior year and the Unsung Hero Award her junior year. She was a State qualifier in golf her junior year. Schultz was named on the Honor Roll and was a member of the National Honor Society. Mackenzie is the daughter of Scott and Christena Schultz of Emery, S.D. She plans to study Elementary and Special Education at Dakota State University.
Annika Stephens, another product from Rapid City Central High School, is a 6-foot-1-inch right side/middle hitter. During her senior year as a Cobbler, she recorded a hitting percentage of .244 and she had 111 blocks. Stephens played three years for the Cobblers where she was named to the Greater Dakota Conference All-Academic Team. She was a member of the National Honor Society. Annika is the daughter of Jim and Kathy Stephens of Rapid City, S.D. She plans to major in Computer and Network Security at Dakota State University.
Taylor Stratton, 5-foot-9-inch middle/outside hitter, comes from Rutland High School where she was named the Best Defensive Player and the Best All-Around Player two times. She was selected to the All-Register Team and Dakota Valley All-Conference Team. She was an integral member of the Raiders volleyball team that captured the District Championship. Stratton tallied 211 kills, 96 digs, 89 blocks, and 77 service aces in her senior season. During her volleyball career at Oldham-Ramona/Rutland High School, she accumulated 540 kills, 523 digs, 243 aces, and 240 blocks. Stratton also lettered in basketball and track and field. She was a member of the Raiders' basketball team that won three consecutive District 4B Championships. In basketball Stratton was selected to the All-Register Team and the Dakota Valley All-Conference Team. Stratton's academic success includes being the class Valedictorian, receiving the Academic Excellence Award, being a National Honor Society member, being a four-year Honor Roll student, and receiving Student of the Quarter honors. Taylor is the daughter of Scott and Leann Stratton of Rutland, S.D. She plans to study Biology at Dakota State University.
Kaylee Vander Wal, 5-foot-6-inch setter from Sioux Valley High School, was a four-time varsity letter winner. She was a two-time team captain and earned Most Valuable Player Award twice. Vander Wal was a member of the Cossacks volleyball team that captured three District Championships, two Region titles, and a third place finish at the State Tournament. She amassed 784 assists, 65 service aces, 92 kills, 244 digs, and 29 blocks her senior season. During her career at Sioux Valley, Vander Wal accumulated 1404 assists, 125 service aces, 174 kills, 423 digs, and 31 blocks. She earned Big East and Lake Central All-Conference honors. She was named to the All-Register Team, State Class 'A' All-Tournament Team, and All-State Second Team. Vander Wal was identified as a â€œPlayer to Watchâ€ in the South Dakota high school volleyball preview magazine. Vander Wall will be a participant in the South Dakota All-Star Game this summer. She received the NGWSD Outstanding Female Athlete Award and she was a Wendy's High School Heisman School Representative. Vander Wal also lettered in basketball and oral interpretation. She has received numerous academic honors and awards: All-Academic, Girls State, Student of the Quarter, Honor Student, Heartland & KJAM Radio Student of the Month, Excellence in English, Regent Scholar, Salutatorian, four-year Math Award, five-year Science Award, United States Army Reserve National Scholar/Athlete Award, Sioux Valley High School Scholar Athlete 2013, and United States Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Award. Vander Wal was also President of the National Honor Society and was a member of Student Council. Kaylee is the daughter of Todd and Sheri Vander Wal of Volga, S.D. She plans to major in Math Education at Dakota State University.
Kelci Viesselman, 5-foot-8-inch outside hitter transfer from Ridgewater College, was an integral member of the Warriors that won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament her freshman year. During her two-year career at Ridgewater, she amassed 407 kills, 232 digs, 57 service aces, and 16 solo blocks. Viesselman was a member of the Hutchinson High School volleyball team that was runner-up at the State tournament in her senior season. She also lettered in track and field where she received numerous honors, qualifying for the state track meet two times. Viesselman will also join the DSU track and field team next year. Kelci is the daughter of Cort and Angie Viesselman of Hutchinson, Minn. Her intended major is Elementary Education and Special Education at Dakota State University.
Tessa Weeldreyer, 5-foot-10-inch middle hitter, comes from Parker High School where she was a four-time letter winner and four-time State Class 'B' Tournament participant. Weeldreyer was a Big East Honorable Mention selection as a sophomore and junior and received Big East All-Conference First Team and Class B All-State Second Team honors her senior year. She was chosen as the team's Most Valuable Offensive Player. Weeldreyer smashed a total of 359 kills during her senior year. She also recorded 46 service aces and 35 solo blocks. She had 969 kills, 90 aces and 113 solo blocks during her career as a Pheasant. Weeldreyer also had success in both basketball and track and field. She was a four-time letter winner in basketball and she received Big East Honorable Mention, Big East All-Conference Second Team, and 2013 Class B All-Tournament Team honors. She was also a team captain and named the Most Valuable Defensive Player. In track and field Weeldreyer was a six-time letter winner, four-time most valuable sprinter, six-time State track participant, 2012 State Champion in the 800m relay, and was on the 1600m relay team that broke the school record in 2012. Weeldreyer was on the Honor Roll for four years and was a member of the National Honor Society. She received the National Scholar/Athlete Award for her academic success in the classroom. Tessa is the daughter of Terry and Doreen Weeldreyer of Parker, S.D. She plans to major in Elementary Education at Dakota State University.
â€œWe are bringing in a big recruiting class,â€ said Veenhof. â€œThis is a very exciting time for our program. Adding these 15 players to the players we have returning gives us depth in each position and that will allow us to compete every day. This incoming class is very talented and they have a significant level of experience.â€
Dakota State is slated to play their first volleyball match of the 2013 season on Aug. 24, visiting Briar Cliff (Iowa) in Sioux City at 7 p.m.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director